After Seven years in Deloitte Consulting I finally made it and landed on the beach (at least partially). Which of course gives me the time to do all sorts of activities:
- Work on my career plan (and remind my protégés to do the same)
- Update Curriculum Vitae ( in 2 languages and 2 formats)
- Find a new project or client.
- Increase Internal visibility
- Create an Iphone timesheet app for Deloitte NL.
- Update Linkedin profile
- Look back and savor the highlights of my career and ponder about the future
- Make plans for the future
- Blog and earn a green Deloitte Social Media plunger
By now I finished all my chores and thought it might be nice to make good on my promise of blogging something about my career and share some thoughts with you.
How I got here.
My career in IT started when I received a phone call from the Royal Dutch air-force telling me I failed the very last test: An allergy test. No fighterpilot training for me. Fortunately my mother had insisted I enroll in a bachelor program I chose software engineering as a major, moved to live on my own and had an excellent time with some high school chums.
Then reality broke in and I had to decide on an internship. This was in the period of the dot-com bust and in that period I saw web “scripting” as something for people without real programming skills. So i decided to test my skills in computer vision and applied for an internship at Urenco. With the logical outcome that I ended up at Stentec building a tool for importing 3D objects into their DirectX simulation engine for Sail simulator 4.0.
After deciding that game development, although a worthy occupation, was too small a niche in The Netherlands to base a solid career on, I tried out for technical software development. I moved to Eindhoven and worked on Motion Control software which proved to be incredibly boring. At first sight it seemed to me like playing with Lego Technics, unfortunately this is only a very small part of the job.
Still unsure of what career path would be right for me I applied and was accepted at TU/e (Eindhoven University). Which was like a never ending math camp. To top this experience off I decided to do my master thesis on a research topic inside the university walls. I think the professor who supervised my work summed it up well at graduation:
Fundamental technology research might not be the best career fit, but with the combination of your engineering and communication skills I foresee a bright future in consulting.
Luckily for me I had already come to that conclusion and secured a job as Business Analyst (= junior consultant) at Deloitte Consulting. Where I had a lightning start and was staffed on a web project within my first month, never to return to the beach. Until now.
What I did
I worked for a very diverse set of clients from consumer business to public sector and from telecom to education and the financial services industry. They al had one thing in common: they manage their online content in SDL Tridion. Projects ranged from e-commerce optimizations to content aggregation and included assessments, implementation advice, troubleshooting and a project salvage operation.
Next to my client work I started blogging about SDL Tridion somewhere around september 2008. Back in those days there were almost no public sources of information about Tridion. Luckily that changed slowly and now the online SDL Tridion community seems to be thriving. The blog delivered me two clients who contacted me directly via the contact form and a lot of exposure to the rest of the community and clients at large. My blogging frequency has dropped to an all-time low which is something I regret. Perhaps I will pick it up again in the near future as I am working on a very interesting project in a part of the CXM technology stack other then content management.
In my spare time I used to fly gliders competitively. Unfortunately I have chosen to stop competing as the time needed for a decent ranking was more then I was willing to invest. Without the competition element gliding has gradually lost my interest and by now my instructors and pilot licence are expired.
Currently most of my spare time is spent with my family and in creating and maintaining my own empire of ‘small’ websites. Which gives me a lot of satisfaction and for which there seems to be too little time to try out every new idea (without neglecting my wife and daugther). Seems I turned my work into a hobby …
What is next?
My technical background (2x computer science bachelor & Msc in algorithms and datastructures) has served me well. However I am discovering that in my current role I am expected to shift my focus from solving technical problems to solving business problems. My formal education gave me the ability to excel in analyzing and solving complex problems. Unfortunately it did not give a lot of reference and tools on how to apply these skills effectively to business problems.
Fortunately my employer thought ahead and encourages young (ahum) ambitious personnel to apply for sponsorship of post graduate education. I figured that an MBA might just be what I need to fill my head with new business tools and methodologies. The education of my choice is an EMBA at the Rotterdam School of Management . I talked to a recent graduate (and their posterboy) Wing Lee who was positive about the experience and felt it had been worth the investment in both time and lost opportunities. Currently I am in the process of getting my Business Case approved by the senior management of my service area as Deloitte sponsors tuition fees and grants some paid leave to selected candidates.
Wish me luck!
Shortly after the go live of the chamber of commerce website we identified some parts that were at the end of their software life cycle (TODO:unable to find suitable link will create post on that myself).
One of these components was a vehicle called the “product selector”. This part of the site was styled very differently and had a very strong willed DB text search function. Needless to say the “sale” of the products are regarded as important KPI’s for the website. The products contained in this vehicle were (in order of appearance):
This project was the first Tridion project for Deloitte US. As we all know Tridion is currently ranked as the lead Web Content Management System by Forrester (login requirerd). As Tridion is executing its push into the US market it was only a matter of time before Deloitte US would be engaged in a Tridion project.
The internal Deloitte network led them to me. I went over there for one week to share the knowledge we already had on Tridion. I feel the following quotes speak for themselves:
“Albert helped us ramp up very quickly with Tridion’s solution and best practices. The information he shared with us was insightful and got us prepared for a week long workshop sessions with Tridion and the State. Demonstrated excellent communication style and customized the discussions based on the auidence i.e., provided high level summary as well as dove deep as needed.”
“Just wanted to drop you a quick note that Albert is doing a great job supporting our team here in Minnesota as a Subject Matter Expert in Tridion. His insights and best practices document are very helpful to us and he has already earned the respect of the lead technical team members. We’re looking forward to having him to continue supporting us remotely and potentially even a return trip to Minnesota if necessary.”